Travel Watch: What To Know About Real IDs

The Upshot

Beginning May 3, 2023, U.S. residents will need Real IDs or Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) to board a domestic aircraft (or to enter a federal facility)—or plan to use their unexpired passport or passport card instead. Delayed by Covid, safety measures from the 2005 REAL ID Act put in place by the 9/11 Commission are now back on track to ensure that identity documents are consistent across all 50 states. Which means a Standard Driver’s License won’t get you through the TSA line for U.S. travel, but an enhanced one (already being issued in Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont) will. EDLs have advanced security features along with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) barcode for faster scanning of essential information at checkpoints. (Minors remain exempt as long as they are traveling with an adult with a valid ID.)  An EDL is valid for up to four years.


Varies across states. In New York, it’s $30 to upgrade with the same renewal date.


Upgrading to anEnhanced ID serves as proof of identity and citizenship when exiting or re-entering U.S. borders, so it will allow you to travel without a passport to Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries by land or sea.

What You’ll Need to Get It

To upgrade, you’ll need to apply in person with the following documents:
  • Current license and passport
  • Original Social Security card
  • Two proofs of principal residence address (electric or credit card bill and/or tax form, which must be printed)
  • The appropriate DMV form for your state. Find the New York renewal application form, here.
Check with your state’s driver licensing agency website for additional requirements. New York residents click here for more information. Be an early adopter to get your EDL or plan to travel with your passport at all times.Indagare Tip: 

AAA members can get their Real IDs at AAA locations rather than DMVs.


Published onSeptember 16, 2022

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